Last night I spoke to my friend and collaborator Kathy Mead Skerritt on Skype. Kathy is based in Cleveland, Ohio and I’m in Wiltshire, UK.
I was going to be traveling over to stay with Kathy for the next week or so, but as I’ve written before (see here for an earlier post) I decided to stop flying and we made a plan to carry out the week-long period of collaboration at a distance instead.
We have begun using the #BlankTwinsWaterBodies hashtag on social media (see here on Twitter) because we have collaborated in the past as a trio, with friend and artist Chris Seeley, and used the Blank Twins name then. Although Chris has since died, as her influence is still with us, we continue to use the Blank Twins name.
Kathy has done a lot of work around water and water bodies, including Nine Mile Creek near her home, the Cuyahoga River that flows through Cleveland, and The Great Lakes, whilst my own work is all about the relationship between people and place, and the role of artful, embodied ways of knowing.
Together we are exploring the relationship between individual bodies and the planetary body in a time of ecological crisis; how we can develop a language around that which doesn’t rely on binaries and divisions. We want to learn from each others practice, and to share our places with each other, and we are exploring how we can do that at a distance.
So on Wednesday 26th June at my 5.30pm and Kathy’s 12.30pm we sat down and made a start.
Here’s some of what we talked about and the questions that we asked ourselves…or my understanding of them at least:
- Verbal/written/poetic language – ‘What would I call it, if I didn’t call it a Creek?’
- Transcendance – beyond oneself or a part of the whole?
- Binaries. Paradoxes. Speaking of Wholeness.
- Being present, being vulnerable, opening up AND protecting yourself
- Different voices. The outsider voice.
- Fear and Anxiety. Popular culture and distracting us from a hyper-local experience.
- Perception. Collapse. Surface and Depth. Uncovering, making visible.
- Action alongside Abiding.
- Collaboration. What is it? How do we support each other and challenge each other? What can that lead to and how does it then affect our other relationships?
- Documentation – recording conversations, making lists, keeping diaries. Writing like it is a spell or a recipe. Blogging. Video/YouTube.
- Walking as a way of knowing. Walking to find a new world.
- Being wary of editing out everyday stuff. Being in the sink as well as the river. Showing the computer screen and the carpet, not just the river.
- Art as a way of coming to realise what we already know.
- What if? What if I encounter the river as “I am that”?
- Working with a presumption that we (all of us, all beings) are already in coincidence with each other.
Today I’m going to walk down and see what is happening by the river. I said to Kathy yesterday that I want to start with the question “What does this place want to tell me?”.
You can read Kathy’s own blog post here.